I was born in Oklahoma City and raised in the tiny (at the time) suburb of Mustang, Oklahoma. My Momma worked hard in jobs before and after raising her four children and lots harder while raising us as a (mostly) stay-at-home mom. Daddy was an IBEW Union Electrician when I was little and then started and operated a sign-making business, with Momma’s help, while we grew up.
As the oldest of four children, I helped out with the younger ones and lots of cousins. We all got plenty of experience in Momma’s huge gardens. Character is built by picking green beans in the hot sun, filling big black plastic garbage bags with the green beans, and filling the bathtub them for washing before canning them for winter. Making our own pickles, sarsaparilla, root beer, and having a home photography developing lab were some of the other adventures we experienced as a family. The tornado shelter we tried to dig under our floor got water in it and didn’t work out.
I was in plays and musicals and excelled in competitive speech and debate during high school. I was the first in my immediate family to graduate from college, though all six of us were in college simultaneously for a year or so. I earned a degree in history with a minor in psychology, plus taking electrical engineering and physical therapy related courses. In my last year of undergraduate studies, Professor Buhite put my name in for a scholarship to study for the summer at Oxford University. My grandma financed the rest of the trip and traveled with me afterward. That was a great experience, though it was embarrassing when my Great Aunt Mary kept telling people I was a Rhodes Scholar. I was not.
MOVED TO WASHINGTON, 1987
I went to the University of Oklahoma for my undergraduate degree and first two years of law school. Right before law school, I won my black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate. Between my first and second years, I looked for a job by calling every law firm in the yellow pages. Mr. Williams was kind enough to hire me. That summer, I was also really fortunate to go to Queen’s College at Oxford University for a summer program to study law. Between the second and third years of law school, I moved to Washington because this is the best place in the world for me to live. I completed law school at UPS (now Seattle U) College of Law in the old department store building in downtown Tacoma, escalators in the library and all.
CAREER AND VOLUNTEER
After learning a lot from a few brief government jobs, I started practicing family law in 1990. Even though I never took family law at school, it is a very good fit for my abilities. I love this work. As a law partner before and as the sole owner of my firm now, I employ great people. I find solutions for my clients, striving to save money and reduce anguish for the benefit of both sides and their children.
It has also been my honor to serve with more than a dozen local volunteer organizations, including taking leadership roles in several of them. At different times, I have been a Pro Tem Court Commissioner in Family Court for many years. These experiences have taught me many skills and values beyond my lawyer work experiences. Being a mom has also been amazing and fulfilling.
We adopted our son, Matt, not long after he was born in Malaysia in 2000. I moved here for the benefit of the children I planned to have. It is so important to me that my boy has grown up in such a wonderful community. I now want to give back and enjoy working to make Thurston County even better by becoming your next Port of Olympia Commissioner for District 3.